Iran’s President Ahmadinejad’s regime is a threat to all of us. His words contain a chilling echo of some of the world’s most tragic history.
~ Senator Barack Obama
Everywhere one turns these days, we find a politician screaming about Iran and the dire threat it supposedly represents to America. President Bush has been spinning dark tales about this for years, his claims dutifully echoed by most of the presidential candidates (with the musical score provided by Senator McCain). Even Barack Obama, ostensibly the "antiwar" Democratic nominee, has taken to rattling sabers at the behest of his new neocon handlers.
But if we brush away the rhetorical fog, does a tangible threat really exist? Is Iran actually a danger to our way of life? And if so, what does this threat look like?
Let us suppose for a moment that Iranian President Ahmadinejad decided that the time had come to launch a glorious mission to conquer the United States of America. Suppose, furthermore, that he proceeded to order the massive Iranian Army (actually, Ahmadinejad is not the commander of the Iranian military…but let’s put that aside for a moment) to board transport ships of the mighty Iranian Navy (although Iran doesn’t really have a navy, but let’s put that aside for a moment too) and set sail.
In concrete terms, how would this scenario unfold?
If the neocon warnings are accurate, this armada would have to sail out of the Persian Gulf, up the Red Sea, and through the Suez Canal (though why the Egyptians — Sunni rivals of Shiite Iran — would allow a massive Iranian military force to pass through the canal is another mystery).
Picking up speed, the armada would then sail across the Mediterranean Sea and through the Straits of Gibraltar. Once in the open Atlantic (though still without air cover or any logistical supply-chain whatsoever), the Iranian armada would then race across the ocean, presumably making landfall somewhere in New Jersey (where they could no doubt link up with their many secret agents posing as convenience store cashiers up and down the Garden State Parkway).
Once reassembled on the ground — but still without air cover or re-supply — this force would, according to our warmongering politicos, fight its way across the continental United States, thus completing Ahmadinejad’s mad plan of global domination.
This is, without embellishment, the actual threat that Iran poses to the United States.
Now some folks might raise an objection to this scenario, noting that Iran’s threat isn’t conventional, but nuclear. Iran is, they claim, working on an atomic bomb that could be used against us.
That, too, is sheer nonsense.
First, America’s 2008 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran had ceased working on a nuclear bomb several years ago. Second, Iran does not have a delivery system capable of reaching the United States. Third, Iran knows that its hypothetical nuclear weapon could easily be traced back to Iran, meaning that its use against America would result in Iran’s immediate and total annihilation. And fourth, let us once again remember that Ahmadinejad — while he may be crazy — is not, in fact, the commander of the Iranian military and would have no control over this hypothetical nuclear weapon anyway.
The hard, cold truth of the matter is that Iran represents exactly zero threat to the American people or our constitutional form of government. Its army is small, its navy even smaller, and its air force nonexistent. Iran’s economy is in a shambles and its people are increasingly disillusioned with their government. Even if the Iranians somehow succeeded in developing a nuclear weapon, they have no delivery system, and they would have every reason not to use it against America.
Yet the war drums continue their ominous beat. President Bush persists with his bellicose rhetoric. John McCain continues to sing his deranged war songs, and even the saintly (toady?) Barack Obama has jumped on the war wagon.
The only civilized and proper response to this war hysteria is a healthy dose of disparaging humor. Those who, with a straight face, claim that Iran represents some sort of actual danger to America deserve only derisive laughter. They are ignoramuses (or…even worse…they know the truth and are trying to play us for ignoramuses).
Either way, we’ll be seeing those Iranian nukes about the same time that Saddam unleashes his legendary fleet of flying, chemical-spraying drones.
Until then, America should mind its own business and stay out of the Middle East. As our experience in Iraq has shown, nothing good awaits us there.
Steven LaTulippe [send him mail] is a physician currently practicing in Ohio. He was an officer in the United States Air Force for 13 years.